It’s an interesting time for convention centers. On one hand, the industry has experienced significant growth over the last year, and on the other, the growth has resulted in a highly competitive market, where the buyer essentially calls the shots. Navigating (pun intended) new market conditions poses a challenge for convention venues. In this blog post, we’ll focus on the key challenges and solutions that convention centers face.
Gain competitive advantages
New convention centers seem to be springing up like mushrooms. Old ones undergo renovations and expansions, so that they basically appear new too. This means that customers - organisers, exhibitors, visitors, etc. - have lots of different options and get to pick and choose the venue that fits their exact needs for a particular event. It also means that customers have more bargaining power than they used to, as they’ll simply choose another venue if their needs aren’t met.
Convention Centers need to distinguish themselves on the market, making sure that they stand out. They need to understand what it is that drives the customers, what holds them back and what gets them from NO to YES. And they need to do it better than other venues.
For example, customers reported that budgets, bad timing, destination appeal and getting approval are the top barriers that hinder event attendance. If you find a way to counter these barriers and convince attendees of your venue’s outstanding value to them, you already have a competitive advantage.
Adapt to customers’ needs
Some customer demands are old and well-known, some are brand new. Especially adapting to new technology options might be challenging for some venues. People are used to technology and they expect you to come up with solutions that let them focus completely on their event drivers. Luckily, event providers have a considerable array of solutions to choose from; there’s registration management tools, agenda tools, promotion and marketing tools, branded event apps, digital surveys, analytics tools, networking tools and a lot more.
As mobile devices are becoming an ever-increasing standard in our lives, we start to expect the same level of convenience from our surroundings as we do from our technology. This means that as customers, we’re used to being independent, entertained, networked and informed. Convention centers need to adapt to both these needs and their medium; the smartphone.
Adapting to customers’ smartphone use grants lots of different options for services. If your venue has a branded app, you can add features such as indoor wayfinding. In a survey of factors of importance for destination experiences, ease of getting around and good wayfinding were stated as important or very important by 86% of the respondents. A different survey reports floor plans and maps as two of the most important features in mobile event apps.
Also, remember to stay flexible. Innovative solutions emerge and once new trends turn into expected services. Needs change, and convention centers need to change with them.
Underline your role in the community
Think about how you can collaborate with the surroundings of your convention center. Education, networking and destination combined are the top three drivers for the decision to attend an event. If you collaborate with local enterprises and focus more on destination branding, you show your broader role in supporting the community. This could strengthen your venue with the attractiveness of the destination, and maybe ensure increased government funding.
If you use MapsIndoors as your indoor navigation tool, visitors can easily navigate from inside your venue to other destinations in the area without switching apps, as MapsIndoors is built on Google Maps.
Let MapsPeople help you
Our indoor navigation platform, MapsIndoors, is the perfect addition to your event services, to give you the technological edge you need. MapsIndoors lets the visitor prepare effective routes in advance and find their way around inside the venue, whether the destination is a specific session, a restaurant with gluten-free meals, or simply the nearest lavatory. You completely control POIs and create custom layouts for your individual events - convention venues are rarely static, so the option of adapting your floor plans is essential when choosing an indoor navigation solution.
Tell us about your mapping needs - we’ll find the best solution for you.
If you want to know more about factors and features of importance for what visitors when attending an event, check out our blog post on the subject.